Nestled on the banks of Knapps Creek in Marlinton, a 1970s homestead has received a facelift and is now home to the Knapps Creek Trout Lodge.
The home was built by Reid and Anne Mitchell. It is now owned by their son, Mark Mitchell, who, with his daughter, Anne, and her boyfriend, Mark Hengemihle, started the new lodge business.
“When my dad was a kid, my granddad bought the dealership and turned it into Mitchell Chevrolet,” Anne said. “Then, my grandma designed the house. The family all kind of helped build it. She was creative. One time I found her notebook and it was just a composition notebook with all these clippings from different magazines and she wrote beside them, ‘for the kitchen,’ or ‘in the living room.’ We compared them and they look the same.”
The house was initially used as a vacation/second home by the family until Mark sold his construction business in Northern Virginia. Not quite ready to retire, Mark discussed the idea of the lodge with his daughter and they began their partnership.
“I was living in Idaho and he just called and asked if I was interested to help him start it,” Anne said. “That was probably the end of last winter and we’ve been working on it ever since. It’s almost about a year now from planning to fruition.”
The lodge will be rented bed and breakfast style, with meals provided. Accommodations include the master bedroom complete with a breakfast nook, a queen-size bed, private bath and a spectacular view of the creek; and the family loft, with two sets of bunk-beds, one futon, a queen-size bed and a private bath.
With the style of the lodge and rooms, Anne said they plan to rent the lodge in its entirety instead of room-by-room, like most bed and breakfasts.
Along with the two bedrooms, renters have access to an open floor plan living room with ample seating, a fireplace and fly tying station, dining room, a reading nook and large porch furnished with a picnic table, porch swing and built-in grill/stove.
The meal plan includes using fresh and locally grown vegetables and local beef.
“If people go fishing, we can cook their trout,” Anne said. “We’re really excited because we’re going to do a vegetable garden. Hopefully, we’re going to have a lot of vegetables. It’s just kind of fun to put together different menus. My mom really likes that part.”
While the lodge is a nice, cozy place for a restful weekend, the outdoor amenities are the icing on the cake.
“They get access to eight beach cruisers for the Greenbrier River trail,” Anne said. “They get to access the fishing here. Then we also offer half-day guides and full-day guides so one of us would go out with them if they want to go fishing or hiking or biking to somewhere a little bit less easy to come across on their own.
“It’s kind of like a concierge service for outdoor activity,” she continued. “If they want to do an activity and they don’t have the experience to get them out there, then we can just kind of get the equipment ready and pick the trails, that kind of stuff – make sure they have a successful time.”
The plans are endless when it comes to creating day trips that include hiking, biking or fishing. The trio has tossed around ideas that include taking visitors on a biking tour of Cranberry Glades or a lazy, inner tube float down the river.
Mark sees the lodge as a place for groups to retreat to for the weekend or a getaway for families who want to leave the city life behind for awhile.
“We think we can attract some groups of motorcycle riders,” Mark said. “Then, young families – that’s one thing I really look forward to – to have young families where their children can develop an appreciation for the mountains, rivers, hiking trails and camping of West Virginia.”
As the name implies, there is a focus on fishing, mainly due to the proximity of Knapps Creek.
“Pretty much exclusively, we do fly-fishing,” Mark said. “That’s what we want to do is fly fish but we bring people in that aren’t fly fisherman.
“We change the story when they’re here instead of telling them real fishermen fly-fish,” he joked.
“Fly-fishing is pretty great and it’s a little more intimate, I think,” Anne said.
While the lodge’s namesake waterway – Knapps Creek – is literally in the backyard, the lodge offers services which include traveling “The Birthplace of Rivers” to find the best trout fishing spots.
Because it is a family-owned business in a former family getaway, the lodge will be open for three seasons, and closed from Thanksgiving to February to allow the family time to enjoy the holiday seasons together.
For more information on the Knapps Creek Trout Lodge, visit www.knappscreektrout lodge.com
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org